Say Goodbye

This sock is going away.

It isn't going to a new home, it's just going away. I haven't really talked about it except to mention that I cast on during the craziness that was June in the middle of packing for a cross-country move. I've know it for a while, but I didn't have the guts to admit that I am going to have to rip and entire 12" length sock, including successful heel turn and gusset decreases. I put it on again today to gauge if the foot needed more decreases to be snug, and I finally caved. There's nothing you can say to stop me. The deed is done. There is no record of the carnage. We will start anew.

I must say as a caveat that I don't dislike the idea of the sock - not at all. My gauge is just a wee bit finer than that called for in the pattern. About 1 stitch per inch. This caused unacceptable stretch in the pattern stitches, which results in the shaping rows to be really obvious (and really ugly). The space between the k2tog and the next single knit stitch were also pulled apart rather dramatically, causing a bar of yarn to be clearly visible (almost like another yarn over). It was not pretty. Perhaps I will try again. I was so looking forward to some lovely knitted knee socks for the autumn.

Here's something on a more cheery note:

Sweet William

A little something I picked up from the farmer's market on Saturday.


Solo una classe più...

I used to dread language class in high school, but not because I wasn't good at it. In fact, I actually was quite good at it, it came easily and with very little studying, which is a good thing since I didn't study, favoring instead science and math classes. No, I dreaded it mostly because I never knew what I didn't know and so lived in a perpetual state of unknowing. Now I do know what I don't know, and even on those weeks when I study very little, or not at all (I'm so bad, I know), I really really enjoy going to class and getting pummeled by Gianna, our teacher. Thank you Gianna!

La settimana prossima è la classe ultima. I never would have thought I would be sad to see it end! Luckily a new session starts in a few weeks time, and I think I am more than willing to pony up the money and sign on for another round. I hope I get Gianna again (really, she is lovely and fun and a great teacher), but either way I'm hoping to enjoy it.

Allora, I finished this when I got back from the city!

It's been rather difficult to get anything done between work and my family visiting, but there you have it. (Oh, didn't I mention that my family was visiting?)

I'm calling it a success, though it doesn't really fit me and I modifed it a bit (as far as I can tell!) On with the...

Project Specs:
Pattern: Floppy-Brim Hat from Heart Warming Life Series, April 2007
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream Crochet Cotton (try to ignore the website design) in cream, 2 balls (102 yds/ 6oz)
Needles: Size G (4mm) Boye crochet hook (metal)
Size: one size fits all (sort of)
Started: 18 August 2007
Finished: 25 August 2007

Pattern Mods: I left off the last pattern repeat of the main part of the hat (3 rows) because as I was crocheting it seems be be growing rather huge and I thought it would end up giant if I continued (and I think I thought right). I also increased only half as many stitches (10 instead of 5) on every increase row on the brim except rows 26 and 28 (5 stitches each) because I not once but twice misread the chart - this was not a fault of the pattern but my own stupid inability to pay attention. I stopped after row 28 because, again, it seemed to be getting too large. I crocheted the brim in a spiral instead of in rows, because there seemed to be no reason to have that seam up the brim given that all the rows of the brim were single crochet!!! The fabric on the brim has a slight tendancy to bias, but it isn't too bad. As a result of all these modifications I ended up with a bucket or cloche-style hat, as opposed to the floppy-brim one in the book, and is a tad big for my pin head. No worries though, I know someone it will probably fit nicely. (The current size would be good if I were concerned about crushing my hair, too, but it's just a tad loose for my liking.) Next time (I'm sure there will be one) I'll try it in a thinner yarn (worsted instead of bulky? DK instead of worsted? It's unclear what the gauge of this yarn is). I'll also use a nicer quality yarn I think (organic?) and slightly smaller hook, and I might try to add some sort of embellishment, either the one in the book or another.

On my way home I also decided to pop into my LYS and it's quite a surprise to me at least that I haven't gone in before now. I only looked around a little bit, I was carrying a heavy bag, but they seemed to have a good selection of a bunch of brands and the staff there was really nice. My credit card slipped, and this is what happened:

Pagewood Farm Hand Dyed Sock Yarn (Superwash) in Golden Yellow.

I needed another skein of sock yarn like I need a hole in the head. I'm not a yellow person, but don't you just want to drink it up? I was thinking maybe of these. The gal at the shop even wound the yarn up for me into that lovely little cake. Man, I need to get a swift and ball-winder duo. :)

But that's not all. These jumped into my hands as well:

Front: Rowan Yorkshire Twees 4ply in color 269; Back: Berroco Pure Merino in color 8522.

I saw the Rowan and just had to buy it. I had to know what all the fuss was about. OMG, what beautiful yarn!! The Berroco is a nice, 100% merino, worsted weight (very soft!) in a deep plum (the photo doesn't do it justice.) These little babies will be sacrificed to the swatch gods - now I only hope I can decide on some delicious fall sweater patterns!


Around and Around

I am a fickle knitter, no question about it. I have abandoned all current WIPs for a new love. Queso sabato scorso, dopo la mia clase italiana, I wandered up to Little Osaka to check out Kinokuniya. It was quite a trek, up Geary Street, uphill, to the store. Geary is not in the greatest neighborhood(s). Neither is Webster, which is where the actual street address of the store maps to. Not a scary place to be driving about, per se, but it didn't feel that good to be walking around, alone, as a woman, in that part of the city. I have never been happier to see crowds on tourists (on my trek back) in all my life.

The store, too, was somewhat disappointing. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I get the impression that the store in Rockefeller Center is a huge megastore. This one is about a quarter the size of your average Borders or Barnes & Noble. It was in an interesting mini-mall of sorts, with a bunch of different Japanese stores and eateries. The craft books were in a tiny stand alone section shared with the cooking books. (Gosh, now that would be an adventure!) I'm not saying it wasn't an impressive number of books, nearly all of which were in Japanese. My expectations were high though - a little too high I guess. (Humph - I just read that, at least at the Rockefeller Center store, the really good books are in the hobby/fashion section, NOT the craft section. Is this true? Does anyone know if that's the case at the SF store?) Anyway, nevertheless, after fighting my way to the front of the section (the place was crowded, but it was a Saturday after all...) I managed to snag this gem:

The book is called... ok, I don't know what the book is called because I don't actually read Japanese. Not one word. But the cover does say " Natural Bag & Goods, Andaria, Linen, Organic Cotton", and it is part of the "Heart Warming Life Series". Wait - here it is, over at Amazon.co.jp! This might not work though if the Japanese character set is not loaded on your computer. Mine apparently is (thank you Apple!) Also - thank god for ISBNs.

I'm not sure what andaria is (any guesses?) but the projects all seem to be made of natural, non-wool materials, including things like twine and raffia, and, of course, cotton. And, it's actually a crochet book! Funny thing - knitting and crochet in Japanese patterns seem to both be translated as "knitting". I figured it would be easier for me to figure out crochet than knitting, especially knitting garments, with the "at the same time" and complicated shaping that can occur. The crochet patterns are all very well charted out, complete with little diagrams, and none of the projects seem so difficult that I couldn't just wing it if I had to. And the photography is stylish - kind of like Rowan in that it's almost worth the price of admission just to see the show, even if you don't understand what the show is about! :)

I am especially enamored with the cover project - what a sweet little bag! There are quite a few interesting pieces in the book, which I'm betting you'll be seeing around here sooner or later. But, I thought something a little more simple was in order to start things off:

Don't judge, I happened to have it on hand.

Already I am winging it, since, although there is a gauge given I can't exactly read it.
Early results are promising.

Now, how do I add Japanese patterns to Raverly?

ETA: I have found 2 other sources for Japanese knitting books, if anyone is interested: Superbuzzy has some pretty nice offerings, and also sells way cute Japanese fabrics and other stuff. YesAsia.com also has some knitting books, though there doesn't seem to be a knitting or needlework category in the book section as far as I can tell.



Thanks for the advice re: the entrelac scarf. Unfortunately, the back of my project is not very, um, regular, because although I do rather like the egg-carton texture of it I rather think it isn't good enough for a gift. I like the idea of a backing, but wasn't really all that keen on knitting one in stockinette. I'm not sure if a silk backing or a fleecy one would be better - it's supposed to be warm (it is a scarf after all) but at the same time silk is so pretty... But, I'm not exactly a sewer (by which I mean one who sews, not one into which sewage flows). I did at one point own a sewing machine, but the only thing I ever used it for was to make pillowcases (nice straight seams, no interfacing or whatever it's called) and to to sew the selvedge edge of monks cloth to do swedish weaving. I don't have that machine any more. I honestly can't see myself hand-sewing a backing onto a scarf because I'm not that good and the stitches would be obviously uneven. This is not to say I may not acquire a sewing machine between now and Christmas, it is, after all, only August. (Only August!) What to do, what to do...

Meanwhile, I have been wallowing. In Ravelry.

I have a confession. I got my invite on June 5th. I only just now started playing around with it.

What was I thinking?

For those of you already in you know how awesome it is. For those of you not in yet, know that your day is coming, and soon, and know that it is more awesome than you can possibly image. Seriously. Awesome. I forsee entire days lost to stash-photographing and project documenting. (Start early people, and use Flickr, that's all I have to say.)

My handle is ladyknitterly, of course. I haven't joined any groups yet. (Suggestions?) Scusi ora, ho bisogno a pensare alla mia queue...


The Radioactive Green Circle of Destiny

I was messing around last night with a new project, a crochet project, and I realized something that, although it won't really change my life, may change the lives of those of you who avoid crochet forever:

Crocheting is not like knitting.

As you may or may not know, I am a long-time crocheter. I learned back when I was about 5 or 6, around the same time I learned knitting, from my grandmother (though my mother does neither), but for some reason I took to crochet much more readily than knitting. Long story short - I crocheted exclusively for a long time and many a relative's home is decorated (or hiding, as the case may be) the assorted doilies, afghans, and coasters of my youth.

Ah, crochet.

So anyway, I sat down to start this new crochet project last night, but I haven't done it in quite some time. Six months maybe? A year? When I first started to have a go with it I felt clumsy, uncoordinated, all thumbs (or none maybe). I felt like a beginner. I am normally a lightning-fast crocheter. Why was this so hard?

My knitting technique was polluting my crochet technique.

Yes, polluting people! And this is where the life-changing aspect of this post comes in: if you are a knitter who has, upon trying to learn how to crochet (whether it be for a simple edging or something grander), found it really unwieldy and hard to do you might be holding the yarn wrong.

This is how I hold the yarn when I knit (click to make bigger):

When I knit I weave the yarn over and under my fingers to provide tension. You can see what I mean, more or less (I hope) in the group of three shots. When I started working on the crochet last night, I wove the yarn over and under my fingers in exactly the same way, and experienced confusion. That's because this is how I hold the yarn to crochet:

In this second series of approximately equivalent shots you can see the placement of the yarn is not woven about the hand at all. In fact, aside from travelling over the index finger, it lies entirely on the bottom (palm) side of my hand. And what's more, the index finger is not doing what it does (for me) in knitting - it is actually holding on to the little crocheted piece and providing no tensioning at all. The tension is actually being provided by my pinkie, crooked over the yarn just so. The middle finger does most of the manipulation of the yarn. (I "lift" the yarn to loop it over the hook - at this point in the stitch(es) the hook is stationary. I also use the middle finger to manipulate the yarn in knitting - go figure.) The ring finger just follows suit, since it's fairly impossible to keep your ring finger straight while the pinkie and middle finger are crooked just so.

A consequence of the differing actions of the fingers causes my hands to tire in different ways when either crocheting or knitting. When crocheting, I find that my left hand gets fatigued first, a result of the odd position of the fingers and the fact that I am holding the crocheted fabric with that hand. When knitting, I kind that my right hand tires first, as I find I have a much tigher grip on that needle than the other because that is the one doing all the moving, plus the fingers of my left hand are nice and stretched out and relaxed. Equal opportunity crafting.

So there you have it. Mystery solved.

Now I ask you dual-crafters out there: does your crochet technique differ from your knitting technique? And to those of you who have tried crocheting and hated it because of the awkwardness of it: would you be willing to give it another shot armed with the knowledge of the Radioactive Green Circle of Destiny?

(Note: The Radioactive Green Circle of Destiny is not part of the project I started last night. The yarn merely sprung into action when no other yarn would step forward to demonstrate the mind-bending difference between knitting and crochet. The yarn has retired back to the stash, where it will slumber until it is called upon to once again save the world with its radioactive super powers.)



What, friends, am I supposed to do about the back?


Bullet Points

  • IK Fall - Finally came! I'm surprised there hasn't been very much discussion about this one - have people not received their issues yet? Mine went all the way to New York before making a u-turn and coming all the way out west. Love love love the tilted duster. Don't know if I'll ever make it. Added to the list of Thing I Love But Will Probably Never Make. There are a few other patterns I like as well, but this one is my favorite.

  • Harry Potter - finished the book and saw the movie, all this weekend. That was some pretty nifty effects work in the movie, wouldn't you say? Especially the scene in the Ministry of Magic. Even my aunt, who I went to see it with and who has never read the books but who has seen all the movies, was amazed. I think we have started to take for granted the uniqueness of the universe that Rowling created. Anyone want to discuss? Don't want to spoil it for those who haven't finished yet - email me at la (dot) dame (dot) knitterly (at) gmail (dot) com. Replace the blah de blah de blah, you know the drill. Also, someone else mentioned it (sorry, I don't remember who) but I too love the sweater vest that Ginny is wearing at the end of the movie. Too true - quite a lot of lovely handknits there. Won't somebody publish patterns for them? Please?

  • Gladiolas - I have decided that I love them, and of course, the grocery store I got the first bunch from of course no longer has them. Of course, I did go at 8am this morning (thank you, cats), so maybe they have them now. Must get gladiolas.

  • Actual Knitting Content - I abandoned the Mediterranean Shawl for the time being and went back for Absorba. Remember that one? Absorba, The Rug, now known as Absorba, The Rug That Would Not Be Completed. Gosh, I do like it a lot, but knitting that doubled cheap kitchen cotton is a royal pain in the... wrists. It is supposed to be a random log cabin, but I keep ending up with rather consistantly large numbers for the rows, and I want it to be rectangular, so I think I may have to modify my method a bit. It is growing, but slowly. I am only able to manage 5 or 10 rows a day before my wrists cry out. So I moved on to project #3 on the needles:

    Remember this? I picked it back up again, afraid that I would not remember how to knit backwards, but I can! Oh, how I love knitting backwards! But when I work on it I feel a little queasy, and guess what?

    Mohair, my old enemy. So we meet again.

    I didn't realize. (How could I not realize, you ask? I was lured by the siren call of the Noro. It is a dangerous breed indeed.) I'm going to keep knitting. It's gift knitting, and I really like it, and it actually only is perceptible when I knit indoors. If I knit on it outdoors I don't seem to feel it. So, knitting all'esterno it is. (I know you are thinking I am crazy. I (like Luna) am not crazy (much). A knitting I will go.)

  • 8.06.2007

    Not Feeling the Love

    But first, Peaknit you have made my day. I didn't get to go to Kinokuniya, that mecca of Japanese crafting books (and Japanese books in general), before I left New York, and I was really disappointed. There is a giant branch in Rockefeller Center, and the one time I made a trip specifically down there to check it out it was closed. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to buy Japanese craft books (which are inordinately adorable) sight-unseen via the Internet. But wait! Stacey has informed me that there are Kinokuniya on the West Coast! Several of them! There is one in SF!! Next question: How do I get to Webster St.? Why I did not think of this I do not know. But this I do know: I am so there.

    On to the love-deficit:

    That's how I feel about my lace right now. I want to crumple it in a ball and throw it in a corner. There are 180 or so stitches per row, and every 2-4 rows I find a mistake that requires me to unknit the last two rows (of 180 or so stitches) I have just knitted. I am on row 184 now. But soon I will be on row 182, because I have discovered three extra stitches in one of the pattern repeats, and I can't magick them away with a little stitch rearrangement or creative needlework. There are too many extra stitches over two rows - too much extra yarn. A tinking we will go.

    This really sucks.

    I have started to hate this project. I think I might have to put it away for a while lest I really do bunch it up in a ball and throw it away. There's no perceptable progress from day to day, and the rows grow ever longer, and will continue to grow longer until row 242 (can you believe that?), at which point the pattern reverses and starts decreasing. That's right folk, the main body has over 400 rows (418 to be exact). I am not even halfway there are I want to quite. Don't get me started on the sides. Or the edging. It's enough to make a person stop knitting. Or blogging. There are so many talented people out there, and I feel like I am slogging along at a snails pace, making stupid mistakes, and haven't had anything interesting to write about for weeks. How do you guys do it? I am so inspired by your beautiful projects, but at the same time they make me want to quit. Like the title says, not feeling the (lace) love.

    I do feel the love from everyone who wished me well after my little, ahem, incident. Thanks you guys! I am feeling much better. The giant bruise on my rump is mercifully hidden from the light of day (it's pretty gnarly looking and getting more colorful by the day).

    I also get a lot of kitty love:

    Io sono molto dulce.



    ...at the amount of face time Lily seems to be getting lately.

    (I swear this really is a knitting (mostly) blog and not a cat blog.)